Whether it be rocketing down the alpine coaster, gazing in awe at the thousands of ocean creatures on display or simply lazing by the pool, Vinpearl Land Amusement Park in Nah Trang, Vietnam, has something for everyone...Waking up to four grown men bouncing on my bed screaming “Happy Birthday!” while laughing like a bunch of drunken 8 year olds, was the start of one of the best days I’ve ever had. Waking up with my usual Oscar-The-Grouch impersonation, I let my friend know just how excited I was - by rolling over to go back to sleep. ...That was until I heard the words “It’s time to get up, the rollercoaster's open in half an hour!”. Yes, my very adult friends had booked tickets to Vinpearl Land Amusement Park.
Priced at 500,000VND (Approx $25 USD) per person, this ticket gets you access to one of the greatest attractions in Vietnam. Starting with the world’s longest sea-crossing cable-cart from the mainland Nha Trang to Vinpearl Island, you get to admire jaw dropping landscape with iconic white sandy beache and rolling vistas on display. You can end the day here, and still be happy with your purchase but I think this cart ride is barley the beginning of your adventure. The island is also home to a water park, mega arcade and roller coaster rides. As if that weren’t enough, Vinpearl also boasts Vietnam’s first 4D theatre; a 5000 seat amphitheatre, and the largest aquarium in the country.
While clinking over on the cable cart 60 meters above the ocean waves watching the Hollywood style Vinpearl sign approach, I was hard pressed to ignore my inner-child excitement. By the time I had reached the mega-arcade and strapped myself into the bumper cars, my friends and I had well and truly let our Inner Child completely take over. That is to say - if we had then given that Inner Child six bags of sugar washed down with four energy drinks. Yes, we were giggling like school kids, while slipping down water slides, and screaming higher than the small girls behind us on the roller coaster. I can safely say - it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. Truly the only complaint I have about is place? There is simply too much to do in one day. I thoroughly recommend planning how you're going to tackle the day at the park before you arrive, or rather, just organize two days of fun to get the full Vinpearl Land Amusemement Park experience.
Shopping in Delhi is an Indian experience you won't forget. From dusty streetside markets teeming with locals to modern multi-level shopping complexes and boutique designer establishments, there's no shortage of options. And then there's the sellers perched along the footpaths and lingering at every tourist site. It's practically impossible not to buy in India.
Here's a guide to just a few of Delhi's shopping havens.
Chandni Chowk Market Old Delhi Get amongst it in Chandni Chowk - but if you don't like big crowds don't bother. Once a major trading centre of Asia, this market is swarming with people to navigate your way through - more than usual for Delhi - and at times there are bikes, bullock-drawn carts and cars to dodge too. Consider it an adventure! Chandni Chowk has the busiest and cheapest markets you'll find. It's where the many of the other sellers in town go to get their goods, so why not go straight to the source. You'll find a bit of everything - books, clothes, shoes, leather goods, electronic goods, food stalls and an immeasurable number of other matter. Don't miss the narrow side-lanes for even more options and a few surprises too. Centuries old, Chandni Chowk was established in 1650 when Mughal Emperor Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and wanted a market just across the road from his fort - Red Fort, perched at the end of the shopping strip. Connaught Place New Delhi Also known as CP, the area offers a mix of shops, restaurants, bazaars and cinema halls packed into two concentric circles that wrap around an expansive circular park at the centre. It can be easily categorised into two areas - Inner Circle and Outer Circle. Situated in the heart of Delhi, CP is a popular place to shop. Amongst the colonial-style buildings with colonnaded verandahs you'll find over 400 retailers, including branches of all the major International banks, a number of tour operators, tourist-friendly food joints, modern local brands and some western outlets too. Branching off the circular ways are sub-markets and an air-conditioned underground market, Palika Bazaar, dominated by electronic items, clothing, fake designer products, pirated software and other illegal bits and pieces. The prices down here are low, but be careful and watch your bag. CP is closed on Sundays.
DLF Emporio New Delhi India's five-star luxury mall, this is the perfect place to exchange the dust and smells for high-end designer extravagance. With an Italian marble, burnished wood and detailed brass interior, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of Paris or Milan (just don't look out the window). Showcasing only the top international designers, the likes of Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Fendi, Dior, Just Cavali, DKNY, Burberry and Hugo Boss retail here, the only place in India you'll find the real versions. Lap up the luxury to the sound of the classical pianist playing in the central lobby. Whatever you do, don't miss the floor dedicated to India's top fashion designers. Ranging from traditional garments to impressive modern-twists on conventional ideas, the colours are mesmerising, the designs stunning, and the results tempting to the hip pocket.
Dilli Haat New Delhi Dilli Haat is the first ever permanent craft market showcasing handicrafts from all over India. It's a project created to bring together the many different styles and techniques of craftsmanship and handicrafts iconic to each state. Rows of bangles, silks, fabrics, decorative ornaments, furniture, leather goods, rugs and spices - and as always much more - are presented well for browsing along the organised stall setups. Created to imitate a village fair atmosphere, there are also open-air stages for traditional performances from across the country, and a wide range of cuisines. Not quite a traditional market, Dilli Haat is definitely the tamest ‘market' you'll find in Delhi, and if you're not travelling throughout India this could be a good chance to see the traditional variances. With 62 stalls, spaces are allotted on a rotational basis to vendors who would otherwise be limited to selling within their own village. Barter hard to bring the prices down. There's also a small ticketed entry fee: 15 Rupees for adults and 5 Rupees for children.
Janpath Market New Delhi Stretching north of the Imperial Hotel, the streetside Janpath Market tinkles with everything from chimes, trinkets and pocket-sized souvenirs to shawls, clothes, pillow covers and colourful crafts. Well known for its wide variety of fashions, the market includes street-side shopfronts and vendors who simply spread their garments and handicrafts along the footpath and pinned up to the walls. You can even get your ears pierced in the street with some dangly new earrings, if you're game. Next to Janpath you'll find plenty more crafts and jewellery at the Tibetan Market, and Connaught Place is just up the road. Janpath Market is closed on Sundays.
The ultimate Dubai experience is a 6 hour sunset safari road trip deep into the desert, and Hormuz Tours Desert safari can take you there. Pack your camera to take your own amazing postcard pics on a great Arabian experience.
First up, a large eight-seater 4 wheel drive collects you from your designated point, along with fellow tourists in the area who have booked the same trip. The drive heads outside of the city of Dubai - actually straight in to the middle of beautiful wind swept sand dunes which continue into the distance for as far as the eye can see. In no time you are tearing up the desert with some major dune bashing in your large vehicle - keep your seatbelt on!
Next you are sand-surfing down enormous dunes. This is an activity easier than it looks - the sand moves for you, all you need to do is balance on the board and walk back up the dune..and again and again, beleive me - you'll want to!
As the sun sets, dunes are highlighted with a barren mars-like glow, and it's onto a group activity with fellow tourists where seperate tour companies who have been sand dune bashing now join together for the rest of the evening. Under the stars, you'll be camel riding, snapping selfies in authentic Arabian costume, and dining together with fellow desert safarians. Smoke from apple flavoured shisha pipe creates the perfect Bedouin camp atmosphere. You'll sip traditional Arabian tea and hold a falcon. Be painted with a temporary henna tattoo - all part of the tour. Under the night's stars you are then treated to an Arabian feast fit fot for a sheikh, and the entertaining skills of an expert belly dancer who works wonders with swords. The whole evening's experience won't break the budget, there are plenty of tour companies advertising online for around 160 dirhams and up, all Inclusive.
Recommended: Hormuz Tours Desert safari is perfectly entertaining way to explore the culture and landscape of Dubai.
It’s not hard to see why Melbourne gets a reputation for being a hipster’s paradise, the city reinvents itself like an aging pop star. When one thing has its day, another springs up. Urban Scrawl conduct daily tours of Melbourne’s CBD, showing you the latest in its ‘underground’ street art culture.
You can’t really call it an underground movement anymore, it’s as present as day and continually changing and growing as the artists populate and evolve.
Starting in Degraves Street in the heart of Melbourne’s city, and pretty much the epitome of its famous café culture, we queue up for lattes and get to know our guide, Zoe, a part-time street artist (of the stencil variety) and passionate lover of the city’s outdoor galleries. Along the way we learn about the different sub-cultures of street art from stickering, to paste-ups to mosaics, to larger than life murals.
“It’s so common now,” Zoe says, “that it’s actually becoming mainstream.” She explains that it’s not uncommon for a bride and groom to shimmy down the lanes to have their wedding photographs taken.
My favourite pieces are the pop culture references, everyone from Michael Jackson to Biggie Smalls and even ex-Prime Minister John Howard and Ned Kelly. “Street artists are the bushrangers of this century,” says Zoe. Which, if you look at a lot of the art, seems true. They have this ‘stick it to the man’ feel. Or perhaps they just all want to be like Banksy, who has famously made Melbourne walls his canvas in 2003.
We learn that there’s even a subversive rivalry between artists, Zoe tells us how disrespectful is can be to go over other’s work. Although you’d be hard-pressed to find a blank space on the walls, so naturally this happens constantly. Some of the detail is astonishing, as are the heights these artists get to, usually in the dead of the night to create their work.
Hosier Lane is one of the most famous spots for street art and it’s here that we get to see an artist at work, because (unlike other cities) it is actually legal in some areas. Armed with a permit and their paint, they go to work in front of the public. It’s like a living, breathing exhibition. Never has watching paint dry been so fascinating.